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This is a question Eccentrics

We all know someone who's a little bit strange - Mum's UFO abduction secret, or the mad Uncle who isn't allowed within 400 yards of Noel Edmonds.

Tell us about your family eccentrics, or just those you've met but don't think you're related to.

(Suggested by sugar_tits)

(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 19:08)
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The Mad Artist, Part 4.
I suppose I should give something of a physical description of the Mad Artist. He's 6' 4" tall, weighs maybe 190 lbs at the most (probably a lot less), has deepset grey eyes and sharp features, and looks like a cross between a young Tom Waits and Jim Morrison. His hair is extremely curly and by now is probably about to his belt. Normally he wears it in a braid or in a twist on the back of his head, but when he lets it loose it's a flowing mane. Clean him up and shave him and he could easily be a male model- he really is that good looking. He's also fearsomely strong- I've witnessed him doing things that I would have thought damn near impossible to be done by a lone man. This is due to him spending most of his life cutting down trees and doing masonry for his rather erratic existence.

For reasons of his own that I've never managed to get out of him, he prefers to be incredibly filthy at all times. His stench is the stuff of legends around that part of town- you can literally smell him a block away when you're downwind.

His apartment is heated in the winter by a bank of six cathode ray monitors stacked three across and two high, and a computer that he keeps running so hard that it has actually caught on fire twice- and afterward he rebuilt it using bits from cast-off computers he's scrounged. He spends much of his waking hours curled in a ball on his chair in front of the monitors, wreathed in smoke and surrounded by old wrappers and cigarette butts.

I might add that if anyone has a computer problem, he's the first one they go looking for. He'll grab the thing from you, boot it up, tell you exactly what's wrong with it and fix it for the price of two packs of Camel Lights and some Diet Coke.

One day I ran into him on a job site where he was laying out a brick sidewalk. It was a raw January day with cold rain falling, just one or two degrees above freezing, with a steady wind. He was putting in bricks and scooping sand into place bare handed and audibly shivering.

Finally I could stand it no more. "Dude, why the hell are you doing this?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know more about computers than any other three people I know combined. You could get a job at a company in IT and be working indoors and making big money. Why the fuck are you out here?"

"Fuck that! I hate computers!" he shouted. "No way! I'd rather be out here doing this than working on them!"

And he packed in more sand in the freezing rain.
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 21:59, 4 replies)
I like this guy..
..sounds like he's managed to manage what could be labelled a serious mental illness and therfore medicated by living in his own world, on his own terms.

I get the impression his life could be turned around if he made efforts to wash (any recent girlfriends?), however I doubt he'd even consider it. Whatever, however happy he is, I salute him.

And I salute you for your excellent posts. Just been through your profile and spent an enjoyable half-hour musing on the old house and the contents you found and the nature of life the old black dude led. And the pool cue inside cane redefines bad-ass.
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 22:51, closed)
It has a dark side to it.
He's managed to cope, but at a serious price- he is two years younger than I am, but looks and feels older. He has damned little in the world in terms of material possessions or money, because he squanders it on expensive things that he then breaks or neglects or abuses- the fancy cell phone that he leaves sitting in the rain, the furniture that he leaves lit cigarettes on and spills beer on, the boombox that sits for weeks in the back of his truck getting rained on, and so forth. His health is not good, and he can't keep doing this physical stuff forever, as he's not taking care of himself. He mooches off of his friends until he alienates them, and has ruined his relationship with his sister and grandfather- his only remaining relatives. He moves from one apartment to the next, always on the verge of being evicted because of his mess and because he's perpetually late with his rent, and lives in a state of constant chaos.

He's basically a very good guy and I really do love him as a friend, but I'm pretty sure he won't live much longer. And therein lies the tragedy- he's more intelligent than anyone else I know, but he's cracked and is throwing it away. He'll be dead and few will remember him, because he keeps the world at a distance with his erratic behavior and his stench.

He's a fascinating person to know, both in good ways and in the manner of watching a train wreck in slow motion and knowing that you can't stop it.
(, Fri 31 Oct 2008, 1:44, closed)
I think that someone who knows a bit about this kind of thing needs to be made aware of his condition.. There may be some help available for him.. he sounds like he needs the right kind of ear to fix his issues..
(, Fri 31 Oct 2008, 9:58, closed)
Yeah, but first
he would need to agree that there's something wrong, yes? And in his view there's nothing wrong with how he lives.

He has become the ultimate live-in-the-moment person, going hand to mouth and not thinking about the past or the future except sporadically. He's happy as long as his dog is fed, he had cigarettes and frozen pizza, and his internet connection is on. Those are his main priorities.

Like I said, it will be tragic when he goes- but he's on the way there now. I've watched his health decline steadily the past few years.

I've reached out to him, as have dozens of others. He refuses to acknowledge that he's in trouble. So everyone has reacted the same way- if that's what he chooses to do, then he has a right to go to hell as he wishes without anyone else pissing in his ear about it. (Cool points if you recognize that reference.) So I sit back and watch the drama unfold from a safe distance, and wish him well anyway...
(, Fri 31 Oct 2008, 10:20, closed)

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